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Frozenbyte unveil Starbase, the next stupidly ambitious sci-fi MMO

Take that, every other space game

We're in space, and you can do whatever you like. Build ships. Fly ships. Shoot ships. Mine stuff for ships. Trade ships with yer pals. Leave your ship for an enemy's, shoot some robots, then fix up their ship so you can pinch it. Then rewire the ship. Maybe full on booby trap the ship, using in-game programming. Yep, Starbase is one of those.

It's a freshly announced sci-fi MMO from Frozenbyte, due to enter early access later this year. We live in a world where the Trine devs are making Star Citzen, but voxelly. I am unavoidably excited.

Here's a pre-alpha gameplay trailer, to be watched with as much healthy scepticism as you can muster.

It looks fantastic, but I've lapped up enough promises of infinite void fun to be weary, at this point. Spacebase seems much further along than Star Citizen, but it's not clear how much artistic license Frozenbyte are taking with those grandiose conflicts. Same goes for all the intricate ship-building, which looks for all the world like it offers a comparable level of freedom to Space Engineers.

More so, once you start thinking about the programming. The only example on show in that trailer is when a robot (I do like that everyone is a robot) jubilantly opens a door it just coded. But that programming language looked enough like an actual, well, programming language to my untrained eyes that I imagine hijinks will abound.

It's hard not to apply that sentiment more broadly. Frozenbyte's press release speaks of a "fully-destructible environment", and of a "hybrid voxel/vertex-based" world where fine-grained simulation means your spaceship might explode in any number of ways. It mentions "massive automated factories", player-designed "electricity and data networks", and an entire galaxy of asteroids to mine, places to explore and other players to rob. Space pirates: confirmed.

I feel a bit giddy, especially considering Starbase is planned to hit Steam Early Access at some point this year. That trailer combined with the details we know so far conjure similar visions of 'the megagame' that Star Citzen tantalised us with all those years ago. A marriage of Elite and Eve Online, now with combat in the vein of Ace Of Spades and programming a la Notch's impenetrably titled (and cancelled) 0x10c. It's stupidly ambitious, but with a trailer like that... I can get behind a bit of ambitious stupidity.

More info, and a shiny Wishlist button, can be found on Steam.

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